Portugal’s popular Portimao circuit lands a quick return to the F1 calendar to fill the vacant third-race slot on the 2021 schedule; New season begins in Bahrain on March 28, with pre-season testing next Friday
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 05/03/21 9:07am
Portugal will stage the third round of the Formula 1 season on May 2 after its addition to the calendar was rubber-stamped.
As first reported last month, a deal had been agreed between F1 and the Portimao circuit to fill the vacant slot on the 23-race schedule pending final approval, which was announced on Friday morning.
The Portuguese GP completes what is scheduled to be a record 23-race season. The campaign begins in Bahrain on March 28. Every race is live on Sky Sports F1.
Stefano Domenicali, F1’s president and CEO, said: “We are thrilled to announce that Formula 1 will be racing again in Portimao after the huge success of the race last year.
“We want to thank the promoter and the Portuguese Government for their hard work and dedication in getting us to this point.
“We are confident and excited about our 2021 season, having shown last year that we could deliver 17 races safely and bring our millions of fans thrilling racing at a difficult time.”
The undulating Portimao circuit in the Algarve – likened to a rollercoaster by drivers – was drafted in to hold its inaugural Grand Prix last October as F1 moved to a mostly European-based schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The track proved popular with drivers and produced an exciting Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton winning his 92nd race to surpass Michael Schumacher’s all-time record.
Twenty-seven thousand spectators were in attendance last autumn.
“We hope to welcome fans to Portimao again this season in a safe way and are working with the promoter on the details of that plan,” added Domenicali.
Portugal is currently one of 33 countries on the United Kingdom’s ‘red list’ and UK and Irish residents have to quarantine in hotels for 10 days on their return, with elite sports not exempt.
Portugal will form a back-to-back with neighbouring Spain on the calendar, meaning F1 personnel are set to go straight from the Algarve to Barcelona for the following week’s event.